How To Tie Fat Albert

What You’ll Need


2x heavy, 2xl straight shank dry fly hook sz 6-8. You can use the hopper hook as well, but I like the straight shank hook better.


Uni-thread, 6/0 – I like to offset the thread color and not let it match the foam underbody


Hareline’s Ice Fur – optional, it calls for a strand of flashabou blended in with the wing




Three pieces cut to length /2mm foam

under Body



Hareline’s Grizzly Rubber Legs- white or tan

Step 1

Start your thread in the front and wind back to the bend. Wind back up to the eye and go back to the bend again. This will give you the layer of foundation needed. The shank needs to be covered with thread.

Step 2

Advance the thread back up just past the hook point. When you are shaping your foam, cut one end into a “V”. Tie it in at the tip of the “V”. When shaping the “V”, don’t cut it to long. Wrap thread back to the straight section on each side. That will be the stopping point. The stopping point should butt up to the bend of the hook (notice in the picture). Make sure you pay attention to the proportion or you will find your foam segmentations not evenly spaced. In other words you’ll make the head look crowded because you ran out of room for the front section of the pattern. Also make sure the foam is long enough to go over the eye. If it’s too short, you will need to start over. The length of the rest of the foam is going to match the others that hang off the front of the eye.

Step 3

 Tie the foam back to the bend. Then tie thread wraps side by side locking in the foam tight around the shank.

Step 4

Do the same step as you did with the first piece of foam. This is important so you can create that big butt you need in the back using the thread from tying in the two pieces of foam. This is what really makes the pattern the pattern. Again, tie the wraps close so you can secure the foam tight around the hook shank.

Step 5

If you do these steps correctly, your proportion should be correct. Be sure to stop the segments where you started to tie in the foam. You will want a total of four segments, so space them evenly as you wind up the hook shank.

Step 6

Lift the foam up and tie directly in front of it. This will keep the foam from shifting around the hook shank. All the wraps going up the hook shank should be enough, but make it a habit when tying with foam to always tie in front of the foam before starting the next step.

Step 7

The next piece of foam will not have segmentations. Fold it over and tie it down where you tied off the other. Don’t tie too may thread wraps, only three to four turns.

Step 8

This is the wing for the back. It’s up to you on how much you want to use. I usually fold it around the thread when tying it in. That way it’s doubled up. Make sure you remember how much you want when selecting the material. The wing should be thick, but not too much. If it looks sparse, take it off and add more before tying it in. Notice in the picture how the wing is sitting straight up. Once you tie in the last piece of foam, the wing should lay back.

Step 9

This piece of foam needs to be cut a little shorter than the other two. It acts as an indicator and also holds the wing down. It’s also a little narrower than the other two, but not much. If you notice in the picture, it’s a little shorter than the other two and should not hang off the front of the eye. Again, use only a few thread wraps to secure it. Remember, you still have legs to tie in that will create a lot more thread wraps. When teaching this pattern, one thing I notice tiers doing the most is using too many thread wraps.

Step 10

Legs…..this is the hardest step for many. It takes tweaking and adjusting to get them correct while tying them in on each side of the foam. For the back legs, use the entire leg when tying the knot. Pull tight when forming the knot in the back legs. If the knot is tied strategically, the excess can be used for the front legs. I also like to leave them long so I can pull on the leg to get the right length when proportioning them.

Note; When tying the legs on, keep the thread wraps is the same groove.

Step 11

Repeat the same step on the opposite side. It might take some tweaking to get the legs to kick right.

Note: Wait until the fly is completely finished before trimming the legs. It helps to keep them long as you keep tying the rest of legs in.

Step 12

Tie in the hi-vis post before advancing up to finish tying in the legs. It acts as an indicator when casting the fly further away. Use as much or a little as you want. I try to use a little more so I can really see it. I like casting hopper patterns a farther distance to avoid spooking the smarter browns that are leery of boats.

Step 13

Lift up the foam and advance the thread up to right behind the eye. Tie the bottom piece of foam down that is closest to the hook making about four wraps to tie it down.

Step 14

Tie in the second piece of foam. Remember you only need a few wraps to lock in the foam. You’ll make several more when tying in the legs.

Step 15

On the back leg. Cut off one strand of the leg below the knot. Cut close to the knot. Add a little zap-a-gap on the knot to bond it and make it last longer. The pieces you cut will be used as front legs.

Step 16

Front Legs. Fold the leg around the thread and tie it down. Make sure the leg is even on both sides.

Step 17

Repeat the same step on the opposite side.

Step 18

Fold down the last piece of foam. This will be shorter than the others (notice in the picture).

Step 19

Whip Finish the fly. If you grab the legs, then you can always use the saltwater version of the whip finisher. Also, glue the entire bottom where you see thread. I like using gloss coat because it puts a bond over the thread, kind of like epoxy. Let these set overnight allowing the glue to dry.

Step 20

Finished product….enjoy one of the best hopper patterns, hands down!

Key Notes; This fly to me is by far one of the best hopper patterns out there for working with foam. The browns seem to like this color in particular over any other ones out there as well. The overall size I’ve had the best luck with is a size 6. The other colors I like are brown/tan and yellow/brown.